Beware of the cobbles: Parishioners told path at 1,300 year-old medieval abbey is too dangerous to walk on

Parishioners told path at 1,300 year-old medieval abbey is too dangerous to walk onFor 1,300 years worshippers and visitors have trodden the cobbled path to the medieval abbey.

Few, it appears will now be following them after the route fell foul of the modern obsession with health and safety.

Councillors fear that someone could trip on the uneven surface at Sherborne Abbey, Dorset, and sue them for compensation.

So they are applying for permission to spend £30,000 building a modern path on grass alongside it.

But their plans for the abbey dating back to 705AD have provoked anger and warnings that the character of the building will be damaged.

Town councillor Katherine Pike said: ‘If we go on being so risk-averse, we will not have a cobble, hill or step left.

‘Those are the kinds of things people come to places like Sherborne to see.’

The cobbled path leads from the Sherborne Museum past the entrance of the abbey.

But Mike Keatinge, head of the abbey’s fabric committee, insisted that a new smooth path was needed to prevent trips and falls.

‘We have had a steady trickle of accidents, people tripping on the cobbles,’ he said. ‘We know of one lady who had a particularly bad fall.’

He admitted there could be objections on historical grounds but claimed that the pathway was not as old as many believed.

‘We conducted archaeological surveys and I’m convinced it is not medieval,’ Mr Keatinge told councillors at a meeting last week.

A modern path, costing £30,000 is proposed to run alongside the cobbles to reduce the chance of anyone falling and injuring themselves

‘During a recent examination of the site, we found disturbed Victorian earthworks with clay piping.’

Sherborne Mayor Jane Smith added: ‘It is uncomfortable to use even if you’re an able-bodied person. These things don’t get better – only worse.

‘There is a public liability factor to take into account if someone has an accident.’ Councillors voted six to four to press on with the measure.

Source: Daily Mail

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